Samuel Mockbee and Rural Studio: Yancey Chapel

Round Two…DING!!!

Just messin’ around ninjas, don’t make me have to go Tyson on you though (crazy-ninja).

Alright so you thought, ‘that was kinda ill, but what else do you got for me?’ How about an outdoor chapel, that cost less than $15k. Oh yeah, forgot to mention this design/build chapel was a thesis project.


…I tried to tell you (cocky-ninja) that Rural Studio has game. And they are definitely bringing it with this design. Check it out:

chapel 1

Yancey Chapel, 1995 (Sawyerville)

Project team: Steven Durden, Thomas Tretheway, Ruard Veltman (genius-ninjas)

chapel 2

This project by Durden, Tretheway, and Veltman harnesses the same candor and character as this architectural gem in the woods. The same instances of relation to site and ability to capture light into the (eleven-foot by twenty two-foot) prayer-space replicate the same intent as E. Fay Jones’ Arkansas masterpiece.

chapel 3

Located on a former dairy farm to ‘defray construction costs,’ the Yancey Chapel resides ‘on a bluff from which the land spills thirty-feet to an open field and wetlands.’ The ‘slightly dilapidated look’ of the roof was ‘intended to suggest a caved in barn stucture.’ The metal roof is made from gathered rusted tin shingles from the county.

chapel 4

The walls of the chapel were constructed from 1,000 donated tires (yeah the rubber things that keep your car bling off the pavement). They were filled with sand, reinforced with rebar (shame on you, unmindful-ninja), and wiremeshed and stuccoed over (crafty-ninjas). The materials chosen for the project are as unusual a combination as any for a chapel space, but they seem to give the Yancey chapel an earth-driven, textual quality (my quote, ninjas) you expect from a small chapel space – unlike this.

[side note: This Mecanoo project just pisses me off to no end, and I linked to it for some other opinions. People love it but, seriously, it’s a chapel…]

chapel 5

The slate on the floor was quarried from a creek in Tuscaloosa and the heavy timber framing was gathered from abandoned buildings (slick-ninjas – okay, i’m done with it).

chapel 6

Honestly, I never get tired of looking at this. The students were just so mindful of what they were doing with every step of this project that it’s hard to find fault with the final product. And at $15k…B-E-A-UTIFUL.

chapel 7

Information, quotes and images taken from the book, Rural Studio: Samuel Mockbee and an Architecture of Decency.

Posted: December 20th, 2006
at 8:34am by Dubs

Categories: architecture,green arch,featured ninjas,architecte de la semaine

Comments: 2 comments


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  1. hello you guys

    I would like to let you all know I was raised on yancy place, I could remenber being a little girl,helping Mrs Lizabeth feed the calf,riding the horse with Mr Jo Lee Long and just being out there in the way. Currently, I live in Mason Bend ,where you all have done a great job down there also.

    Again keee up the good work. GOD is still blessing!!!!!!


  2. Please tell me where this chapel is located. Is it located in Arkansas?

    Donna B

    30 Oct 07 at 8:10 am



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